Understanding that we are more than just our physical body is part of the deeper teachings of yoga.
Below is an excerpt of my Kundalini Yoga Level One Instructor Textbook, "The Aquarian Teacher" which defines and explains each of the Ten Bodies. Every time I open this book, I am reminded of the infinite wisdom of the teachings of Kundalini Yoga. This particular topic has helped immensely in brining awareness of when I am feeling an imbalance, and reflecting on the aspects of myself that are needing love and nurturing attention.
1st Body: Soul Body
Is my life a creative flow from my soul’s purpose? Do I come from my heart?
The 1st body is your Soul Body. It connects you to your inner infinity. When your Soul Body is strong, you live by your heart instead of your head, your creativity flows in a simple, pure way. When you master your soul body, you come from a place of great humility and creativity.
Key to balancing is to raise the kundalini. Open the heart.
2nd Body: Negative (Protective) Mind
Can I determine if there is danger in a situation?
The Negative Mind helps you to give form to the creativity of your Soul Body with the gifts of containment, form, and discernment. It instills in you a longing to belong, which in its highest expression drives you to connect very deeply with your own God Self. If your negative Mind is underdeveloped, your longing to belong can cause you to get into inappropriate, self-destructive relationships because you are over-influenced by others: you aren’t contained enough in your own center.
Key to balancing: value your discipline. Develop conscious relationships of integrity.
3rd Body: Positive (Expansive) Mind
Am I open to all possibilities that life has to offer? Do I let these into my life?
The Positive Mind sees the positive essence of all situations and beings. It is expansive and allows resources in. It makes you naturally playful and optimistic, and gives you a good sense of humor. It makes your communication strong and direct.
Key to balancing: Strengthen the navel point. Increase your self-esteem. Use positive affirmation.
4th Body: Neutral (Meditative) Mind
Do I allow myself to perceive and act upon inner wisdom?
The Neutral or Meditative Mind is the ultimate “win-win” mentality. From here you look at the whole play of life with compassion. The neutral mind evaluates the input of the negative and positive minds and gives you guidance within 9 seconds.
Key to balancing: Meditate
5th Body: Physical Body
Do I use my strength and assets for the good of all?
The Physical Body is the temple where the other 9 Bodies play out their parts. It gives you the capacity to sacrifice- to make sacred. If strong, it represents the teacher, who is able to take abstractions and explain them to anyone, of any age, of any intelligence, of any way of life, and able to bring the information into an earthly, concrete form. If your 5th Body is weak, you may be angry, greedy, jealous, competitive, ungrateful. Your inner and outer realities will be out of balance. You may have trouble expressing yourself verbally.
Key to balancing: Exercise regularly. Teach.
6th Body: Arcline
Am I able to manifest my goals? Do I do so with integrity?
The Arcline extends from earlobe to earlobe across the hairline and brow. It’s your halo, and it is the nucleus of the aura. Women have a 2nd arcline, which extends from nipple to nipple. The Arcline is your projection, your radiance. It gives you the ability to focus, to concentrate, to meditate. It’s associated with the pituitary gland which regulates the nervous system and glandular balance, thus protecting your heart center. You can use the intuition of your 6th center to protect your self so that you can deal with the stresses of life without shutting down your heart.
Key to balancing: Awaken the pituitary gland- the 3rd eye.
7th Body: Aura
Do I feel security in universal love? Am I unhesitating in uplifting others as well as myself?
The Aura is the electromagnetic field which surrounds your body the same way the Earth’s Magnetic field envelopes the Earth. When it’s strong, it acts as a container for your life force and allows that life force to build up to a level where you feel confident and secure. The Aura is your protection, your shield. It can attract positivity and repel negativity-negativity from other people, from situations, and illness. If your Aura is weak, then you may be paranoid and lack self-trust, and negativity can penetrate into the psyche and into the physical body. All illness goes into the Aura first. So if you can heal yourself aurically and keep your Aura strong, then illness cannot penetrate into your physical body.
Key to balancing: Meditate. Wear white clothing made of natural fibers.
8th Body: Pranic Body
Do I fearlessly embrace life? Do I have enough energy to fulfill my goals?
Through your breath, your Pranic Body continuously brings the life force and energy into your system. This allows you to feel fearless, fully alive, and at one with all creation. When your Pranic Body is strong, and your breathing is deep and relaxed, nothing can bother you. You are self-motivated, and you have enough energy to achieve your goals. All disease starts with an imbalance in the Pranic Body. If your 8th Body is weak, you may have constant low –level anxiety and chronic fatigue. You may try to get energy from food or stimulants.
Key to balancing: All pranayam.
9th Body: Subtle Body
Am I subtle and sensitive and can I penetrate beyond superficiality? What is the REAL purpose of life?
Your Subtle Body helps you see beyond the immediate realties of life to the sublime universal play that lies beyond. When your Subtle Body is strong, you have great finesse and a powerful calmness. You learn quickly and master situations easily. The Subtle Body and the Soul Body are intricately connected. The Subtle Body carries the Soul at the time of death. If your 9th Body is weak, you may be naïve and easily fooled, unintentionally crude or rough in your speech or behavior.
Key to balancing: Do any meditation or kriya for 1,000 days.
10th Body: Radiant Body
Is my life an example of courage, royalty, and creativity?
The Radiant Body gives you spiritual royalty and radiance. Its strength makes you courageous in the face of any obstacle. You exert a magnetic presence and command the respect of all who know you. Yogi Bhajan calls the 10th Body “one-plus” because its one (your Soul Body), plus your radiance. If your 10th Body is underdeveloped, you may be afraid of conflict. You may shy away from other people’s attention, because you are afraid of the energy and responsibility that come with the recognition of your inner nobility.
Key to balancing: Commitment. Do not cut the hair.
Bhajan, Y. (2007). The Aquarian teacher: KRI international teacher training in Kundalini Yoga. Kundalini Research Institute.
Kundalini Yoga, meditation, and massage are a beautiful combination of bringing these bodies into alignment.
Part of my Healer Training with Wahe Guru at the Awareness Center is to create a research paper on any aspect of the healing arts. Being a librarian at heart, this totally tickled my fancy, and I chose a lineage not too far from my own. Assignments such as these have played a huge role in the evolution of my practice and am super excited to share!
Just as many ancient cultures around the world, the Mayas in Southern Mexico and Central America have a strong and rooted connection to life force energy, massage, plant medicines, and prayer as part of their healing arts. According to author Lev G. Fedyniak, there are 6 main principles of Mayan healing. When the Spanish Conquistadores came and destroyed the Mayan culture partly by burning thousands of their writings, many of the healing rituals were able to survive since a lot of it was passed down through oral tradition. All of these principles can be found in other parts of the world, showing the interconnectedness of the healing arts form all around the globe.
The 1st Principle: Life Force Energy
“This Life Energy is everywhere and permeates everything – mountains, rivers, houses, plants, people – and is said to be from a divine, spiritual source. It has this in common with Eastern healing traditions where it is known as chi and even prana. Ch’ulel binds everyone and everything together. It is a main goal for the Maya healer to balance the flow of ch’ulel in the body. Maya healers also maintain that praying directs ch’ulel to where it is needed.” (Fedyniak, 2007)
In addition to the awareness of breath, a physical way of manipulating the life force energy in the body is through massaging the center point of our being, our abdominal area. The Mayan Abdominal Massage, very similar to Chi Nei Tsang (a Taoist abdominal massage modality from China), is intended to move stagnant energy sitting in our internal organs. The Mayan Abdominal Massage focuses more primarily on the womb to increase fertility and help with prolapsed uterus whereas Chi Nei Tsang focuses on the whole internal organ system. Ultimately, they are both addressing the restoration of the organ vitality so that the life force energy can be fluid. These modalities are a method for clearing blocked energy, both physically and emotionally.
2nd Principle: Body and Soul as One
We have the ability to call upon the spirits and guide for support through prayer and incantation. Moon and Sun dance are just a few ceremonies to mention where people gather to honor these celestial beings with song, prayer, and intentions to heal, awaken, and empower. This sacred ceremony that involves dancing, fasting, sweating and being in silence are all tools for purification and accessing the spirit realm. These rituals are a remembrance of the interconnectedness, reminding us that there is no separation between the body and soul.
3rd Principle: Plants as Medicine
Just as in Traditional Chinese Medicine and the science of Ayurveda from India, the plant kingdom plays a vital role in healing the body, mind, and soul. In Latin America, the medicine people talk to the plants and are passed on messages on how to use the plants for healing. Whether it’s as food, herbs, tinctures, balms, teas, these plants support the healing process for both the body and spirit. Before a Mayan Abdominal Massage, a woman can do a yoni steam with herbs so that the warm steam opens the pores of the tissues for the vapor of the plant oils to clean out any incrusted fluid blockages in the uterine walls from previous menstrual cycles. These plant medicines are in relationship with the healers who are constantly exploring how to apply the properties of the plants for healing purposes.
4th Principle: An Integrative Approach
The Mayas believed that each element is working together, from the patient and healer to the plants and spirits. The combination of these various factors is what contributes to one’s healing process, knowing that it is never really just one aspect, but all of it combined.
5th Principle: Status of Blood
In many traditional practices, taking one’s pulse is what helps determine any imbalances before moving forward to any diagnosis or treatments. Healers are also able to distinguish whether the illness stems from physical or emotional in origin.
6th Principle: Hot and Cold
Fedyniak states “The Sixth Principle is that of Hot and Cold, which applies equally to illnesses, foods and plants. Fevers, diarrhea and vomiting are example of “hot” diseases – while cramps, constipation and paralysis are examples of “cold” ones. “
When it comes to women’s reproductive health, it is believed that if the temperature of the yoni is cold, the yoni steam can help bring balance to the temperature by bringing heat into the cervix, vagina, uterine walls, and fallopian tubes, creating expansiveness.
These six principles are very brief overview of the many layers, tools, and elements of the healing arts of the Maya. Reflecting on these ancient traditions is a powerful tool to accessing these forces within us so that we can remember the wisdom of the earth.
1. Argivo, Rosita. Rosita Arvigo on Yoni Steams. https://www.soulvibrance.com/vibrant-living/yoni-steam
2. Chia, Mantak. 2007. Chi Nei Tsang: Chi Massage for the Vital Organs
3. Fedyniak, Lev G., 2007. Medicine of the Ancient Mayas
4. Yamin, Sonja. Should I get a Mayan Massage or a Chi Nei Tsang?
Michael and I are excited to share that we have officially been certified to offer AromaTouch Technique! Even though this is not a massage, it's a perfect add-on to a massage or a stand alone. In our experience of receiving this special technique, we have entered that deep state of relaxation, coming out completely in bliss.
"Whether it is a hand shake or a hug, all physical touch holds different meanings. Even when sharing essential oils, there is a difference between rubbing the oils on someone’s forearm and taking the time to really affect their overall well-being through the AromaTouch Technique.
Physical touch is as important to the AromaTouch Technique as the aroma because of its amazing healing benefits.
While the main purpose of the technique is to apply the oils and provide the recipient with an essential oil experience, the AromaTouch Technique is also about connecting with another person on an emotional level. The connections developed through this technique form feelings of trust and help the recipient relax."
Want a taste of this divine experience
About the writer:
Marisa loves hoop dancing, riding her bicycle, playing, hosting gatherings, practicing yoga, traveling, meeting people, eating, and savoring dark chocolate covered strawberries and coconut ice cream. She strives to be fully present, compassionate, and act and connect from a place of love.